The Los Angeles Kings have had a tougher go at things in free agency this year than they did last season, when they were able to retain pretty much their entire Stanley Cup-winning roster. Coming into the offseason with three unrestricted free agents, they’ve already seen a pair walk away, in Brad Richardson and Rob Scuderi.
The third could be coming in the very near future. That last unrestricted free agent is, of course, Dustin Penner. A player that many expected to walk away in free agency after a big postseason last year, Penner stuck around on a one-year deal. But a year later, the Kings may not in a position to afford him for a second consecutive year.
There is still the possibility that Dustin Penner could decide to take a paycut and return. It’s not all that outlandish of an idea, as Penner isn’t coming off the greatest of years. He had just 14 points in 33 games while struggling to stay healthy throughout the shortened season.
In fact, not much about Penner’s tenure in Los Angeles has been that impressive. He’s been a very good playoff performer, and was a key piece in their fantastic Stanley Cup run in 2011-2012, but is coming off of a season in which he made $3.25 million, definitely not worth the limited offense he brings to the table.
Los Angeles could be set without him already as well. Tyler Toffoli is ready to take over an expanded role, and the team recently added Matt Frattin in a trade. Toffoli can be an offensive weapon in an increased role, and Frattin will be a solid offensive role player. There may not be room for Penner with some of the younger guys around.
There may not be room in terms of finances, either. The Kings have restricted free agents to sign as well. Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez need deals, as well as three forwards. At this point, Penner simply doesn’t look like he fits in with the plans, but losing him shouldn’t prove to be the biggest of deals for the Los Angeles Kings.